Alhambra Theater

2330 Polk Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109

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Showing 1 - 25 of 42 comments

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 22, 2014 at 10:31 am

In June 1926 the Rudolph Wurlitzer company shipped a pipe organ to the Alhambra in San Francisco. It was Wurlitzer’s opus 1364, a style “D,” 2 manuals, 6 ranks in a single chamber: an unusually small organ for a theatre of this size and quality. It was removed around 1960 and supposedly still exists in a private residence.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on August 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

A few July 2012 photos can be seen here, here, here and here.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

An article about the Alhambra and its current use as a gym:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/26/MNK01M3CQH.DTL&ao=2

swrdo
swrdo on May 13, 2011 at 1:42 am

Such a shame that those who have shot off their mouths about the misuse and abuse of this grand theater by Crunch haven’t, apparently, taken the time to actually go see the superb job that Crunch has accomplished. By both restoring and preserving much of the Alhambra they have done us all a great service. Better that they have used it to accomplish a good than to let it die of dust and destruction. Get a life and go see for yourselves before you take pot shots over something you haven’t taken time to actually observe.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on March 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

For a while after the 1988 restoration to a single screen house, Disney used the Alhambra as its showcase theater in San Francisco when its new films were released, although I do not think the studio had a hand in the restoration as was the case of the El Capitain in Hollywood.

William
William on March 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Most of the Roadshow films played Coronet, Alexandria, Golden Gate / Penthouse, UA, Orpheum, Parkside Theatres during that era. Those houses were equipped with full 70MM booths. The Fox Theatre opened “The Robe” for a long engagement. The St. Francis Theatre might have had a roadshow run. The Alhambra Theatre got 70MM much later.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

since this theater is a decent size does anyone know if it
was ever used by the studios to present films on an exclusive
roadshow basis in the period 1955-1972?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Very nice looking theatre.

iatse311
iatse311 on May 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

View link

spent a long weekend in SF checked out a bunch of old theaters…considering how many have been demolished or are rotting away in a building for 30+ years (newark) it is fine by me to be able to wander around a theater for free even if it currently has a new purpose (like the stanley in jersey city) missing in all of the previous pictures on this site is a good view of the beautiful interior dome…enjoy…too bad i didnt get any other good ones

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 6, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Here is part of a lawsuit from the early 1980s. Plaintiff lost.

On March 24, 1979, Jocelyn Vargas attended a movie, “Boulevard Nights,” at the Alhambra Theatre on Polk Street in San Francisco. After leaving the theater, as she and her friends were walking down the street to catch a bus, she was shot by someone who, it is alleged, was a “member of the general public prone to violence … who had been attracted to said Alhambra Theatre by the showing of said violent movie … .” Through her mother, as guardian, she has sued various defendants, including petitioners, who are alleged to be the producers of the movie. Her mother, alleging damage for medical treatment and loss of services, is also a plaintiff. Their complaint, as relevant here, is that petitioners “knew, or should have known, that said movie was a violent movie and would attract certain members of the public to view said movie who were prone to violence and who carried weapons … [and] would, or were likely to cause grave bodily injury upon other members of the general public at or near the showing of said movie,” but that petitioners “negligently failed to warn” Jocelyn of these facts, and “negligently failed to take sufficient steps to protect patrons,” such as herself, “at and near said Alhambra Theatre.” In a second cause of action, plaintiffs allege in addition that petitioners “willfully allowed the showing of said movie to the general public, knowing and thereby impliedly representing to members of the general public … that said movie could be viewed in safety,” that they “intended that patrons, such as Jocelyn Vargas, should rely on their representations,” and she did so rely, to her detriment.

jokirb
jokirb on January 4, 2008 at 12:18 am

Continued: In addition to painting wonderful huge posters of the old silent stars and the new talkies these artists had to be excellent lettering men. All the posters were hand lettered with the stars names, the movie title, the co-stars, the directors, etc. This was a special talent my dad had.

jokirb
jokirb on December 16, 2007 at 1:18 pm

My father Elmer Thomas Davis worked for the Alhambra Theater in the late 20’s . At that time all the first run theaters had one or more full time artists that produced beautiful posters of the upcoming attractions. They also created other lobby displays appropriate for the movie of the day. My father was a talented artist and worked for a number of theaters in this capacity in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Cleveland in the thirties. He was known as a lobby display man (per the union). I wonder what happened to all these wonderful posters that were made during this time?

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 14, 2007 at 10:04 pm

In the late 1990’s, while I was a doorman at the CASTRO, my son Richard worked the Concession Stand at the ALHAMBRA until the theater closed for good.
He, like everyone else before him, really loved the whole atmosphere of being there as worker or movie-goer.
Yes, now it’s full of sweaty jocks but at least this historic registered movie palace has been saved… until the next bunch of money-hungry clowns enter the scene with a demolition attitude.

vintagedepartmentstore
vintagedepartmentstore on May 15, 2007 at 7:29 pm

i’ve been planning for years to catch a movie at the Alhambra, only to see it, on the news, invaded by a horde of narcissistic healthnuts jumping around like a bunch of monkeys on meth. where is st. francis, patron saint of san francisco and the disadvantaged- which in this case are the vintage movie houses that are being robbed, raped and pillaged by ruthless real estate interests aided and abetted by an insensitve, ignorant gaggle of myopic philistines hellbent on destroying our precious cultural legacy. the 1906 earthquake did less damage to sf than the current mob of selfserving culture vultures.

EdGemont
EdGemont on December 13, 2006 at 5:50 am

I lived in the Frisco Bay area from 1971 to 1978 after moving out there from Chicago and I attended this theatre. Kinda reminds me of the great movie palaces of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 30, 2006 at 7:34 pm

My photograph of the ALHAMBRA View link

jackeboy
jackeboy on May 4, 2006 at 8:30 pm

I walked by the Alhambra today, and it no longer Gorilla Sports. It is now being operated by Crunch Fitness. Who knows, someday it may even be a movie theater again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2006 at 5:15 am

The Alhambra Theater was designated an official San Francisco landmark on February 21, 1996.

StevesNostalgia
StevesNostalgia on March 7, 2006 at 1:22 pm

After I moved to SF in 1992, I bragged to everyone in my hometown about the Alhambra. It was a real movie palace. I loved seeing the great Disney pictures there. I even managed a showing of “Scream” at this wonderful place.
How it HURT to see it go! You just didn’t have the problems with movie-going back then! No cellphones, pushy patrons, rude youth…I had the best experiences here and it made seeing a movie special! This was a HUGE loss to us movie-goers, but multiplex patrons could care less which is sad.
I miss this theater!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 25, 2006 at 4:32 pm

OOooops, sorry… here is the 2nd link again:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 25, 2006 at 4:29 pm

Here are 5 photographs courtesy of the archive of the Cinema Theatre Association, UK. Taken in 1997 just prior to the closure of the Alhambra:
View link
http;//flickr.com/photos/53257210@N00/89754710/in/photostream/
View link
View link
View link

jackeboy
jackeboy on January 25, 2006 at 4:01 pm

Aerick-You are right about the beautiful ceiling, but it was not a triplex, It was a twin.

Aerick
Aerick on January 5, 2006 at 8:04 pm

I absolutely loved this theatre. I lived on Nob Hill from 1982 to 2001 and would go here when i could. I remember in 82 it was a triplex and really do not remember the interior. Can’t remember what I saw, but “Dune” was playing in one of the other parts so this must have been 82 or 83. When it reverted back to a single screen, I remember seeing “Dances with Wolves” here when it first came out, so it did become a first run theatre. Saw “The Replacements” here and scores of others.

I am sooo surprised nobody mentioned the incredible ceiling. It was greenish and reddish lights in a very intricate moorish design and when the lights went down for the movie, the ceiling lights would become very faint and twinkly with a reddish and green hue. It was incredible.

I do wonder what the health club has done with it.